Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo :: Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange

Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange

The Hillcrest Foundation Nature Exchange is the Dallas Zoo’s special swap shop, where the trading of natural items fosters interest in nature.


You earn points when you trade in natural items such as rocks, fossils, shells, and pine cones, just to name a few. You may then use your points to collect other items at the Nature Exchange, or bank the points for future use. Check out the Nature Exchange
NatureExchangeKnowledge Points are based upon three criteria:

  • Knowledge (what you know about your item)
  • Uniqueness (what makes it different from similar items)
  • Quality (the overall condition of the item)

The strategy here is, the more you know about your item, the more points it’s worth! Do your homework ahead of time or take a few minutes in the Research Area at the Nature Exchange to discover all that you can about your items. Your hard work will be worth bonus points.


Educator Information: Interested in incorporating the Nature Exchange into your curriculum or field trips? E-mail to learn more about the Nature Exchange for educators and schedule a trading experience for your classroom.

Our Guiding Principles of Ethical Collecting

The Dallas Zoo is committed to responsible stewardship of the environment. We ask our collectors to leave as little trace as possible when you find things in nature. You only need a few items to make a great collection!

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Trading Rules: Trade up to five items per visit that are not man-made.


We will ACCEPT:

  • Rocks, fossils, and minerals
  • Shells
  • Clean bones
  • Insects
  • Pressed plants and plant parts
  • Nature journals (journal entries, drawings, nature art, photographs)


  • Bird products (nests, bones, feathers, eggs)
  • Coral
  • Stuffed animals or pelts (animal skin)
  • Any item from an endangered species
  • Items found on Zoo grounds or in state or national parks
  • Live animals or plants
  • Dead animals (except insects)
  • Historical artifacts (arrowheads, pottery shards)

Where to Explore

Start with your own back yard; you’ll be amazed at what is right around your house!


Looking for more adventure? Visit Nature Rocks North Texas for a listing of local nature sites and activities.

Want to learn more about the benefits of nature? Check out:
 TexasChildrenInNatureLogo ChildrenNatureNetworkLogo